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Rappers Lil Baby and Gunna pose for a picture backstage during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 at Fillmore Miami Beach on October 6, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Lil Baby Says He Previously Paid Gunna To Write Raps He Practiced To

Lil Baby's inspiration to perfect his craft was greatly inspired by Gunna in a very creative way.

In a bit of news unearthed by Genius, Lil Baby spoke to German hip-hop platform 16 Bars about his early days in the game. The rapper, who earned a BET Award for Best New Artist this year, says he paid Gunna to write raps for him in order to practice his own raps.

While none of the songs Gunna were released, they have been used as reference tracks during the duos studio sessions.

"I done paid Gunna to write my songs. I never put the songs out but like when I first started rapping I used to pay him like $100 like 'I'ma give you $100 write something for me so I can try to learn to go in and record it," the Street Gossip rapper said.

Their tightknit friendship in and out of the studio also was considered teachable moments for the rapper. "That's how I used to practice and try to get it right because I just started rapping out of nowhere."

Gunna told Rolling Stone that he was the inspiration for Lil Baby to take his craft seriously. "I kinda helped push [Lil Baby] a little bit to go harder," Gunna said. "He didn't really care about [rapping] that much. He was being him, just chilling. I was critiquing his music, but also letting him know it sounded good, he should keep going, [offering] words of encouragement."

Lil Baby and Da Baby released a track entitled "Baby" Wednesday (July 17), he pulled up on verse one and the chorus of the new hit single.

Heating up verse one with these bars, it looks like the $100 sessions with Gunna paid off.

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Madame Tussauds for VIBE

Exclusive: Aaliyah's Madame Tussauds Wax Figure Channels "Try Again" Era

Today (Aug. 21), the newest addition to Madame Tussauds family of icons makes its big debut. After much demand, a wax figure of Aaliyah, or “Babygirl” to long standing fans and music industry peers is now open to the public at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. The figure, which many fans will agree is long overdue, comes nearly 18 years after her tragic passing.

According to Adam Morey, Studios Manager at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, discussions around the making of an Aaliyah figure began over a year and a half ago. Morey has played a role in establishing the set designs to accompany several of the other celebrity figures at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, but wanted to make sure this one was more about inspiration than flair. “This set, rather than being a recreation of any one particular Aaliyah moment, was instead designed with a message to her fans in mind,” he says. “It’s a message that hopefully reflects her everlasting legacy.”

The new statue plucks Aaliyah straight from a frame in her 2000 “Try Again” music video, where she dons her signature leather pants and metallic bra, belt and choker set (which is still a Halloween costume staple to this day).

“It was clear right away it would be the ‘Try Again’ look for our Aaliyah figure,” he says via email statement. “The look has the sexy, edgy, timeless vibe we try to imbue in the Las Vegas attraction within all our creative choices. Mining popular culture as only Madame Tussauds can, our desire to honor Aaliyah and the look in this way was only confirmed as we see today’s Hollywood stars like KeKe Palmer, Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, also paying homage by recreating their own favorite moments of the Princess of R&B.”

Aside from Morey, one of the critical voices in ensuring the accuracy of this endeavor was that of Aaliyah’s brother, Rashad Haughton, who Morey says granted “unprecedented access” and helped guide the creative decisions for the figure.

“I was involved in the process from the inception of the project,” Haughton says via email statement. “The team at Madame Tussauds welcomed a collaborative effort in choosing the pose and look of my sister's figure. They made sure my mother and I were comfortable and supported through an amazing but understandably emotional process.”

Morey and the sculptors, painters and stylists in the museum’s Acton Studios in London, worked to make sure that all of the Haughton family’s requests for Aaliyah’s likeness were honored, right on down to her tattoos. “One thing we made sure to include was all of my sister's tattoos,” Haughton says. “They are all quite hidden because my sister chose strategic places for them due to her on-camera film work. We know how devout and knowledgeable her fans are and the great artists at Madame Tussauds have no limitations to their abilities when it comes to detail.”

Now, whenever guests make their way to the museum to see the statue, they’ll know it was crafted in love and in reverence of her legacy.

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Questlove To Executive Produce Broadway Musical About ‘Soul Train’

Soul Train, the audacious dance series that proudly spotlighted black culture while showcasing performances from legendary artists such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and more, is the focus of a new Broadway musical with Queslove as executive producer, Deadline reports.

The Roots drummer, who authored the 2013 book Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation, will executive produce the musical alongside, Tony Corneilus, son of Soul Train host and creator, Don Corneilus. Having worked directly with his father for “several years,” Cornelius’ son expressed gratitude for the impact that the series “has had on the culture at large,” both stateside and abroad.

Playwright Dominique Moriseeau, director Kamilah Forbes, and choreographer Camille A. Brown, are also included in the musical's production team. In a statement to Deadline, Morisseau said that she can’t wait to collaborate with a “legendary creative team of incredible women to celebrate the history and the unsung hero of our nation’s longest running televised music and dance series.”

More than 20 hits from the era are set to be featured in the musical, which will also detail Cornelius’ story in the early days of creating the series. Soul Train debuted in October 1971, and took its final bow in March of 2006. Cornelius died by suicide in 2012.

The musical is slated to debut in 2021, corresponding with the 50th anniversary of Soul Train’s television debut.

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Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" Is No Longer The Number One Song In America

Lil Nas X's bonafide smash "Old Town Road" has been dethroned from its unprecedented 19-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

According to the publication, rising alt-pop star Billie Eilish now has the No. 1 song in the country with her track "Bad Guy." The song has been sitting at No. 2 for nine weeks straight. Lil Nas X, who collaborated with the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, Mason Ramsey and more superstars for various remixes of the song, congratulated the 17-year-old on her first No. 1 hit via Twitter.

"Old Town Road" now holds the No. 3 spot behind  Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello's "Señorita."

The Atlanta musician catapulted to fame after "Old Town Road" made the rounds. Initially, it was removed from Billboard's Country chart for reportedly not implementing enough elements of the genre. Since then, it has shattered records and expectations.

Just a few weeks ago, it became the longest-running No. 1 in American music history, breaking a record held by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber (for "One Sweet Day" and "Despacito," respectively).

Lil Nas X has a lot to be proud of. Congrats on a historic run.

congratulations to billie eilish!! u deserve this!!

— nope (@LilNasX) August 19, 2019

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